Literature and Humanities Fest- CAS PROJECT
It all began is 2015 year start, when I had a talk with our Language Team leader, Miss Subhlaxmi Iyer, about introducing a Literature and Humanities Fest in our school for the middle and senior years. To my delight, the proposal was accepted, and I knew from that moment on that this would be one historic and most remembered events of my life, because I was planning to be involved in it right from the proposal stage to the final execution.
Very soon, I got news that I was selected as the Event coordinator for this event… well, I was really excited about it, but I felt I just had a very huge responsibility on my shoulders beginning now. I had organised events in my school first, so I knew neither me nor my teachers doubted my experience in management, but what was worrying me was, that amidst the challenges of the IB diploma programme, would I be able to be consistent in my actions and give my best to the event?
To my relief, I wasn’t alone. My senior, Diya and I were together held responsible for this event. I am always someone who likes doing everything by myself, but I soon realised that in order to be effective and consistent, we required immense understanding within us, and needed to divide our work wherever necessary.
In order to organise this big of an event, it was necessary for us to be very organised and hardworking, both that don’t come naturally to me. However, before planning for the event started, I penned down my priorities and assigned myself a checklist which consisted of my expectations from myself through this event.
The most important thing for me at first was to befriend and understand Diya. It was imperative for us to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses in order to work synergically. Turned out, over the course of the event, we became really great friends and it was honestly so much simpler to deal with all the crisis and work that came our way, together.
After thorough planning, we decided on the activities that will be held throughout the two days, held interviews, and assigned segment coordinators to these activities, but well, easier said than done. I had a lot of pressure on me to choose the segment coordinators. My position demanded objectivity out of me, there was very little room for me to choose people who I liked and not someone who was worthy of the position being offered. One such prominent incident was when I had to choose between my friend and someone I didn’t really like as an activity incharge. Deep down inside, I knew that the one I didn’t like was more capable, but I constantly made excuses like “It’s better if I choose someone I like so that you know, I can work better with them.” It was true to a certain extent, and I knew I had my friendship at stake but when I choose the better person for the work, maybe I think I lost my friendship to a certain extent, but it really did make me feel proud of the decision I had just made. It was a light of maturity that I had achieved already through this event. However, In order to be on top of all things, we came early to school for about 2 weeks everyday and held one to one meetings with all segment coordinators. Doing this was really challenging because this meant about 10 hrs in school. I had to sacrifice my sleep for a lot of days in order to manage both my academics and the event.
The most difficult thing was consistency, this wasn’t an event wherein you take out a day and complete everything. It required time and efforts over a long period of time. For example, simultaneous to our Lit fest, there was going to be an Arts Fest. This demanded that our timetables were set harmoniously so that students could take the most off both events. The trouble began when the event coordinators of Arts Fest did not make their time table for a very long time, we had to follow back with them everyday for about 3 weeks! I lost my temper multiple times but I still never stopped asking them each and every day if the timetable was made. Eventually they gave in and our timetable was made in about a day.
The biggest crisis was faced just 3 days before the event. After posting students selections on the blog, we started getting SO many grade 7 and 8 emails saying their name wasn’t there anywhere. We realized that there was a technological flaw and none of their responses were recorded. It was devastating and panicky, we didn’t know what to do now! Just then Diya and I sat down together and started brainstorming. Her support really made me calm and helped me think out of the box for solutions. Together we decided to keep a session with Grade 7 and 8, and sorted things out with grace. With that, our 1 month’s hard work and perseverance was almost coming to end, soon it was THE day!
I couldn’t have any complaints with the two days! They were flawless! Our determination grit and hard work was clearly reflected! I began with giving a speech and guiding the students through the two days, while Diya checked all the venues and made sure individual events ran smoothly. It was a fabulous team effort and the greatest thing wasn’t it’s success but Diya and my friendship.
FINAL TAKE AWAY:
This event was crucial in my learnings about time management and crisis handling. I had also realized an area that I can work upon, it was that being in leadership positions did NOT essentially mean being loud and bossy, in fact it meant being strategic and calm.
Given a chance, I would take up this activity next year as well, and this time I would keep in mind 3 very important things:
1. Portray true leadership skills
2. Market this fest so well that people can do nothing but just wait for an event like this
3. Change perceptions about language, literature and humanities in not only minds of the students but also parents.
With that, I believe this was in fact a wonderful and enriching experience for me in organizing and for students in participating. Looking forward to more such challenges that force me to grow as a person everyday 🙂